Silfa sat very still, trying to remember something, some place or name, but memories rushed by her eyes too quickly and made her dizzy. “The others must be looking for food,” she told herself, as she stretched her arms and wiped the spider’s web from her slippers.
“That is why I am alone.”
The light was turning the curious blue color of winter’s eve as the fairy tried to stand, but Silfa was too weak. “What has happened?” she wondered out loud. “Why am I so tired?”
And then she curled up in a ball, and fell back into a dreamless sleep, covering herself with her wings. In the corners of the large room, the wind echoed and laughed in surprise at the fairy’s unexpected movements. Night fell like a huge wave.
When she awoke, a grey December’s dawn filled the room. This time she was not surprised to find herself in the attic. Her slender fingers combed through her long silver hair. She slowly stood up and stretched her arms and legs like a kitten. She adjusted her shimmering dress and tiptoed to the dormer window, where she washed her face in a droplet of water that covered the inside of the window glass.
As she cleaned her face and hands, she peered out at the world below her. Fog hung low on the tree branches, almost hiding the street. And far away she thought she heard her family laugh, but it was just the wind.
Suddenly, she had a frightening feeling that everything had changed, but just how, she couldn’t be sure
photographs that lay on the floor were of people Silfa had never seen before. Things looked different. Perhaps it was the grey light of winter that cast the feeling of loneliness over her. Maybe she was just dreaming, but she didn’t think so.
“The only thing to do,” she exclaimed to a busy ant that crawled across the floor, “is to go downstairs and see what the big family is doing!
Her mind made up, she glided over to the doorway and stopped in front of the door. “I hope I can still fly,” she worried. Gathering her dress in her hands, she lifted up into the stale air; and flew through the dusty keyhole and down the two flights of stairs where she hovered outside the Riley family’s living room. “I can still fly,” she beamed.
But something was wrong here. The whole house looked different. What had happened to all the beautiful candles that used to light the living room? The umbrellas were gone, and so were the flowers. Even the vases that held the flowers were missing. Gone, too, were the magical Persian rugs that she and Treema used to play on. The color of the walls, the furniture, the paintings—even the smells and sounds of the house had changed. But how? And when?
Silfa continued to fly in place for a moment, her wings beating the air, her silver eyes searching the room for something familiar. Slowly, she flew to the edge of the doorway. Her tiny face peered out from behind the kitchen door. Where was “Sir Poppa” and his good smelling pipe? Why, the entire family was missing, and in its place was a new family sitting around an old yellow table.
Who were these strangers? Where were Elizabeth and Mrs. Riley? Silfa was puzzled. She studied the four people at the table, the mother and her three children. The mother seemed sad and had a faraway look in her eye, Silfa thought. The boy-child looked about nine years old. He was tall for his age, but still had somewhat of a baby face and white-blond hair. His two younger sisters were arguing loudly. “It’s your turn today,” yelled the younger sister named Em, who wore a red dress. The older sister had pretty blue eyes and a long ponytail. But most peculiar of all was the large box with the window in the front with little people and horses captured inside of it.
“What is this?” she wondered, not knowing that she was looking at a television set. “Strange indeed.”
At the breakfast table, Em and Ruth, the two girls, were still arguing. “It’s not my turn to do the dishes today!” Ruth yelled, turning red as she yanked her sister’s pigtail.
“Oooww, that hurt. I hate you, Ruthie,” Em screamed.
Mom, the pale ruler of this kingdom, hushed the children with harsh words. “Girls, can’t you ever get along? Why must you always fight with each other?…Shush now Ruthie, Momma wants to watch this program. Hush now. Both of you can do the dishes. And I don’t want to hear a peep from either one of you.”
Silfa looked around the kitchen in disbelief. Where the Rileys had been very neat, the new family was sloppy. Boxes of every description sat on the floor. Uncovered food sat on the counters. There was a bicycle wheel leaning against the sink, and unemptied bags of trash were piled in the corner of the room.
Momma hushed the girls again, and drank her coffee in sips, as Willie, the young son, disdainfully looked around. Silfa could hear his private thoughts. “Ah, come on,” he moaned, “I gotta get outta here and meet the bus. I’m gonna be late for school.”
“Mom,” he interrupted, “Mom, I gotta go now. I’ll see you later.” Willie stood up, tied his left sneaker, pushed his hair out of his eyes, grabbed the last donut, and began walking out the door.
Silfa saw his huge sneaker pass by the doorway where she hid behind a discarded wooden crate. “Lucky for me, this house is so cluttered,” she breathed quietly. “I have lots of hiding places.” But as Willie’s shoe slid by, she moved back in fearful apprehension that all the little folk know about, the fear of being stepped on.
Willie kissed his mom on the cheek as he walked out the door. She touched his face and he was gone. She went back into the kitchen.
Silfa noticed that the people in the box had changed. And the horses were gone, too. What a trick—where did they go? How she wished her brother, Treema, could be with her But Treema was nowhere to be found, and with the next slam of the front door, the house was quiet and Silfa was all alone.
The house heaved in relief, and then settled down again. Silfa crawled out from behind her hiding place and daintily flew up over the kitchen to observe her new surroundings, drink a few drops of spilled milk, and look for some chocolate. Fairies love chocolate.
"Silfa, A Fairy Tale" - Book Synopsis:
Silfa, a young fairy princess, wakes up to find herself trapped in a different time, living with a human family she does not remember. She has somehow traveled into the future. How can she protect herself and reunite with her royal fairy family when Willie, the young boy from the broken home where she lives might actually see her? He, too, is lost in his parents' divorce and feels alone and alienated. So the sad boy and the brave little fairy strike up a friendship which helps them both grow and understand the world in which they find themselves. Silfa has all the qualities of a "good fairy princess" as well as a delightful wit. She tries to help Willie come to terms with his unhappiness while she attempts to reunite with her family in Ireland. She even has to fight off the monster Galonka from her former life who reappears to attack her. The book is a fantasy but seems believable and real, even though this is escape literature. Children, as well as adults, will enjoy immersing themselves in the story as they learn about real magic, and become anxious to know how it will end, yet reluctant to let it go. Nadler has captured the childhood fantasy of fairies with a story that transports you to a world you remember believing in as a child. And when it is over, you want to read more.
ABOUT SUSAN NADLER
Award-winning creator Susan Nadler has combined her first two loves of writing and fairy tales in Silfa, a magical young adult book that is inspiring as the life Nadler has led.
The character of Silfa came to her in 1977 and never left her side. As she launched a successful career in the music industry that led to winning two Grammys, running a record label and working with some of the most iconic figures in popular music, she continued to work on the book.
While growing up in Pittsburgh, Nadler loved to escape from everyday life into fairy tales. “It was so beautiful the way it was portrayed with the fairies and the land and the beautiful flowers and the magic and the twinkling stars,” she says.”
When she was not reading, she wrote as a way to process her complex and sometimes overwhelming feelings and the resulting work won the school’s poetry prize every year.
It is with the dreams of that young girl and the talent of an accomplished woman that Nadler wrote Silfa, the story of a fairy and the important life lessons she teaches a boy named Willie.
“This is my favorite thing I’ve ever written because it is so different from my own life, yet I identify with Silfa,” says Nadler. “I have always dreamed that I fly and I still dream that I fly. I understood her; I understood the flying and the magic.
“The main lesson in the book is you can’t make magic if you lie. Magic has to be done with the truth. He learns that truth is the most important thing.”
Storytelling has been a constant theme throughout her impressive career. She began her career as a writer in Key West, Fla., during which time she released two non-fiction books, before moving to Nashville and working in the music industry as a publicist, record company executive, artist manager and television show producer. As an adult, she was able to live the fantasy life of which she dreamed as a child, but she remained a writer at heart.
She served as publicist for artists such as Tammy Wynette, Bobby Blue Bland, and Clint Black before joining forces with Evelyn Shriver to run Asylum Records from 1998-2001. It was there they released George Jones’ Grammy-winning album, “Cold Hard Truth.” In 2001, she and Shriver launched Bandit Records to release the final ten years of critically acclaimed records by Jones. Along the way, she managed the career of country singer Lorrie Morgan, handled publicity for Farm Aid, and served as talent manager of the TV show Soundstage.
She has returned to writing full time and creates both poetry and fiction. Silfa is the first of what will be a series of young adult books. “Fairies are so magical and so about fantasy and today kids need more fantasy than anything because it is a tough and scary world.”